2538 Guadalupe St
Austin, TX 78705
3226 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97202
If I make it back to Portland, Oregon, there are places I must revisit: Salt and Straw, Powell’s Books, Nong’s food truck, and Pok Pok. I have a hard time revisiting places and things because my thirst to see it all and eat it all sometimes works against me. I can’t go back to a city because I’ve already been to that city. I understand the limitations this puts on my me and even my happiness. So I hope I find myself in Portland again and when I do, I’ll be feasting at Pok Pok again. It may be my favorite Thai food experience I’ve had. Says a lot because I’ve had the delicious Lotus of Siam in Vegas. If you go to Pok Pok, and I hope you do, order the fish sauce wings.
12301 N MoPac Expy
I just realized that it’s been three years since I’ve blogged about eating with my little from Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America! How could this be? But a quick search on my blog turned up the last posts were in September 2010. Here’s one of the photos from a now closed hot dog joint.
And here she is today almost exactly three years later. She has grown from an adorable munchkin to a lovely young woman. We went one of the new locations of P. Terry’s. I’m so happy to have a P. Terry’s up north in Austin now! This one is fairly close to me and there’s an even closer one being built on N. 183.
All our meals are typically budget friendly. What was ordered: a double cheeseburger ($3.45), a cheeseburger ($2.25), a large delicious root beer milkshake to split ($2.60), and large order of french fries to split ($1.55). On top of being budget friendly, I trust the ingredients used by P. Terry’s infinitely more than say one of those national fast food chains.
Happy Sunday from my little and me to you!
1110 W 6th St
Austinites love Hatch chile season! Z’Tejas is not only playing homage to this beloved chile but is also doing it for a great cause. For every item off their Chile Bash Menu ordered, they are donating $1 to the Cancer Survivorship Clinic at the Children’s Blood & Cancer Center at Dell Children’s. They hope to raise $5,000. I was invited by their PR group to try their menu in exchange for honest feedback. I came by their downtown Austin location the first day of their fundraiser and tried everything on their Chile Bash Menu. (I’m still full two days later.)
The Skinny Z’Smash tasted a lot like a mimosa. What blew me away was the Skinny Smokin’ Margarita. It has Herradyra Anejo, DeKuyper Peach, Grand Marnier, lemon juice, agave nectar, and Tabasco sauce, which you don’t taste til the very end. There were so many notes in this drink that complement each other with enough contrast to surprise you. Surprise you in a delightful way, I promise.
There’s something on the menu for everyone. If you’re gluten free or wanted something lighter, this salad is a great option. I rarely order salads as I come from a place of hedonistic gluttony. I dutifully took a few bites of the salad; my body thanked me for the ruffage and my taste-buds did not complain. I imagined them giving me a reluctant smile as I went back for more bites throughout the meal. The chicken was glazed in tamarind. There were candied pecans, goat cheese, and pickled Hatch chiles. There is also the chicken free version (just $4.95) of this salad on the menu!
Served with roasted vegetables and red beans, the Herb Chile Glazed Mahi Mahi is another healthy option on the Chile Bash Menu. I might have ignored it too long on the cast iron serving dish because the fish was just a little dry and overcooked.
I often joke that I love spicy food so much but hate that it makes my face sweat. This dish was one of my two favorites from the night. If you can tolerate heat, I recommend this one! The relleno was stuffed with Jack cheese, caramelized onions, and seared beef tenderloin. Apologies to my dinner companion for sweating after eating this but it hurt so good.
The Pork Tenderloin Sliders were my other favorite dish of the night. It had sweet, sour, and spicy components and none of them overpowered the others. Lightly battered tender pork, topped with green chile pineapple chimichurri and slaw are served in between soft jalapeno rolls. You can have them with a side of sweet potato fries, steak fries, or the Hatch chile onion rings. Guys, I could not get enough of this plate. Even the steak fries, the lowly sidekick to the sliders were addictive.
Hm! So Coconut Flan must be a thing? I just had my first one at Uncle Julio’s. I had trouble detecting any chile in this flan but I had no complaints. If you enjoy coconut and custards with a rich texture, this one is for you.
I love it when I can do something that fulfills multiple levels of desire. When you come and order off this menu, you can satiate your hunger, help raise money to fight cancer, enjoy Hatch chiles while they’re in season, and be gentle to your budget. Isn’t that a winning combination? Come soon. Fundraiser ends September 16.
I am sad to report my microwaving skills aren’t that great either. Last night I tried the nutella mug cake and I must have microwaved it too long because it came out dry. I haven’t given up on mug cakes just yet though! Just flipping through the book inspires you to create mug cakes. They’re perfect for dessert for one and perfect for hosting dinner parties. There are 100 recipes in here which means there’s something for everyone! Traditional cakes, chocolate cakes, fruity cakes,and even alcoholic cakes for the adults. I didn’t want to wait to master a recipe before telling you about this book and also host a giveaway! St. Martin Press is letting me give away two copies of this gorgeous cookbook.
To put your name in the hat, simply leave a comment. Giveaway ends on Sunday at midnight. I’ll draw two winners on Monday. Please use a valid contact so I can email you or tweet you if you’re a lucky winner!
Full Disclosure: I was provided the review copy and was not monetarily compensated. As always, all thoughts on this blog are my own unless otherwise stated.
Update: Winners are Wendy and South Austin Foodie! I’ll be emailing you for your mailing address shortly. Thank you all for participating!
Austin, TX 78701
Last week, I was invited by Uncle Julio’s PR team to try their menu in exchange for honest thoughts about their restaurant. I understand that they hail from Dallas originally and the new location in Austin is their 17th in the country. The joke Texans love to make about Tex Mex is to not trust a Tex Mex place outside of Texas. It is a good thing they were founded in Dallas! Upon walking in, I was floored by their floor plan. Spacious and their sun room (pictured above) served as a welcoming respite after spending eight hours under florescent lights at my day job. I forget how uplifting Vitamin D can be for you!
We tried their frozen drink, Swirl which is frozen margarita and frozen house sangria. And because it was strongly recommended, we tried their sangria on the rocks. Seemed a little sangria redundant but the sangria on the rocks may be the best sangria I’ve tasted in a while.
Their house salsa has a great roasted tomato flavor to it. The pineapple bacon guacamole was exciting in theory but I think I’ve finally met something I didn’t love that had bacon incorporated. And trust me, I’ve had some crazy bacon concoctions. Though I don’t think it was bacon that was missing the mark for me. The pieces of pineapple didn’t harmoniously play with the other ingredients.
Uncle Julio’s team was so kind as to customize a sampler so that my dining partner and I could try as much as we could and not commit to big portions. Man did they prepare a feast! We tried their beef, chicken, and shrimp fajitas, their bacon wrapped shrimps (Camarones Diablos and Bacon Wrapped Camarones Brochette), their frog legs, quail, pork ribs, and lobster. If you were keeping count, that was eight different kinds of meats.
What did I love?
Outside of that list, I found the chicken and pork ribs a little dry and their frog legs were tender and juicy but was a smidge bland. If you’re in the mood for fajitas, get their beef or shrimp but if I could just strong arm you into trying their quail, I would. Order their quail!
I love coconut flavors in my desserts and I love custards so ordering the coconut flan was an automatic instinct. My instincts never fail me.
This chocolate empanada was never supposed to make it to our table. We were so stuffed we only ordered the coconut flan but the kind server felt it imperative that we try the chocolate empanada. Thank goodness for his initiative! How did I think passing up warm liquid chocolate swaddled by a puffy pillow of dough was ever okay? This was simple enough. Warm chocolate in puff pastry. It’s hard to go wrong here and they didn’t.
In short, I was very impressed by Uncle Julio’s service, their beef and shrimp fajitas, their desserts, their beans, and did I mention the quail?
Austin Food Bloggers Alliance’s annual charity cocktail reception was last weekend. I have served on the philanthropy committee for two years so it has been a pleasure to work closely with this event for two years. We helped raise about $7,000 for The Arc of Capital Area and that makes me so happy. What doesn’t make me happy is that we forgot to take a group photo of the philanthropy committee. Oh well, next year!
This coffee cocktail concocted by T1 Tequila was a smash hit at the event. Instagram video below.
345 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97211
They have multiple locations listed on their website.
Anita and I spent almost five full days in Portland, Oregon over Fourth of July for the World Domination Summit. She had a few dessert places on her list and I had Pok Pok, which is a Thai restaurant, and food carts on my list. Treavor and Jennifer came down from Seattle for a couple of days to visit us so we had a reunion lunch after breaking a world record. We met up with Suki and her boyfriend. Anita, Treavor, Suki, and I met mostly through Youtube and blogging. Jennifer and I went to college together. Because of conflicting schedules, lunch at Pok Pok and Salt and Straw were the only times we were all together. Incidentally, this was my favorite meal and favorite day in Portland.
When we arrived at Pok Pok the wait was 45 minutes long. Fortuitously, Salt and Straw, which was on Anita’s dessert list was only a block away on the same street. We couldn’t have planned it better ourselves! We modified our game plan and had ice cream for appetizers.
The menu reminded me so much of Lick Ice Cream, my favorite ice cream parlor in Austin. Lick had Cilantro Lime; Salt and Straw had Strawberry Cilantro Cheese Cake. Lick had Goat Cheese, Honey, and Thyme; Salt and Straw had Goat Cheese with Haberno.
As to not spoil my dinner, I bought a small of the Blue Cheese and Pears and the Chocolate Blueberry Rice Crispy Treats. I was skeptical about the blue cheese in ice cream. I’ve had blue cheese as a frosting on a cupcake once while judging a cupcake competition and that was one of the few times in my life I actually spat food out. The blue cheese flavor in this ice cream though was moderate and not overpowering. It was also tempered off with the sweetness of the pears. I love chewing on the chunks of pear as I dug into this scoop.
The Blueberry Rice Crispy Treat was such an original flavor! I couldn’t dream up of this combination. Rice Crispy morsels were dusted in blueberry powder and then folded into chocolate ice cream with blueberry ribbons. You’re just going to have to book a flight to Portland to see for yourself. You’ll thank me.
Another thing I appreciated about Salt and Straw was their principles. Their bowls are compostable and they have compost bins. They also locally source their ingredients.
All in all, I highly recommend you check Salt and Straw out for either desserts or even appetizers!